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I noticed the site throwing the following message a couple of times today -

Stack Exchange We are currently offline for maintenance Routine maintenance usually takes less than an hour. If this turns into an extended outage, we will tweet updates from @StackStatus or post details on the status blog.

Was the site really down for maintenance activity or is it a false alarm? I got the error message only on my touch device and didn't observe it on my desktop. Does it mean the site would have been inaccessible only via touch device specifically?

Also, I couldn't see any stackexchange profiles shown in my profile during that moment. It somewhat said, You have currently no stackexchange accounts.

Update Seems like the community feels I should have had followed the tweets, however, I couldn't. I took sometime to post the question, but the responses redirect to the same page. I would definitely visit the link to the tweets, as of now I can't at my workplace.

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    Did you follow the message and actually look at @StackStatus? See twitter.com/StackStatus. Yes, there is actual information there. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:05
  • You mean the tweets? No. Sorry. Couldn't find the time at that moment to do so. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:07
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    So, you did have the time to post this, but not to browse a couple of tweets?
    – Oded
    Feb 17, 2015 at 14:09
  • @LalitKumarB: but you could find the time to post? In my mind, reading is faster than writing. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:12
  • So, you did have the time to post this, but not to browse a couple of tweets? Why do you think that everybody would be able to access the tweets? At least at my work place I can't. I just tried to open it, and I can't access it due to my company's regulations. I just posted the question after few hours from my personal system. And, wow, a downvote for no reason other than assumed reasons. I took sometime to come here at meta and post my question, but I see unnecessary downvote on my question. As if I asked something completely irrelevant. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:16
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    @LalitKumarB: you didn't tell us that you could not access twitter. You told us you didn't have time; how are we to deduce from that that it takes you more time than most people because you have to work with corporate firewall policies? That's the kind of detail that is relevant. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:18
  • Is it that bad to spend sometime to come and post a question on meta? When the link to the tweets is not possible to be accessed? I am sorry if I am wrong. But, I think the kind of response is really bad. What is meta meant for? I spent a lot of time to answer the questions on the site. I observed an issue and I tried to mention it. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:24
  • I already said, I didn't follow the link to the tweets. Now, when you insisted/suggested, I tried but I couldn't. Is it that complex? Feb 17, 2015 at 14:26
  • @LalitKumarB the response to this post is somewhat normal. When there are outages, there are usually dozens of "why was Stack Exchange down" questions and many of these posts are justifiably downvoted due to lack of research since much of that info is public. However, like you, I cannot access twitter at work so getting updates on these types of situations is difficult. I have asked about fixing this previously to help users trapped by corporate IT policies. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:37
  • @psubsee2003, thanks. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:54

3 Answers 3

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Yes, there were site problems. The header links you to the official status twitter account, @StackStatus. Clicking on the link provided we find:

[12:31 PM]
We are looking into network issues now, stand by.

[12:52 PM]
We have recovered from read-only mode, but are still tracking down an internal network issue causing errors for some users.

[2:14 PM]
We will be entering a brief maintenance mode to kick all services back online shortly - ETA 5-15 minutes, downtime will be about a minute.

[2:35 PM]
We are taking our sites briefly offline to fix the issues we have been troubleshooting this morning.

All it takes is one click on that link to see what kinds of issues there are.

Take into account that the Stack Exchange sites use multiple servers to serve you as fast as possible; it appears that some machines were coping better with the problems than others, so you can see intermittent problems during such outages.

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  • @Martin, I do understand that the link to look at the tweets might have led me to a conclusion. But, why do you think that I MUST be able to follow the tweets? Rhere could be so many reasons for not being able to follow the tweets. And that is the very basic reason I spent sometime to post my question here in meta. I appreciate your time to answer, thanks. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:21
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    @LalitKumarB: most people are not blocked from accessing twitter, I am sorry that that is the case for you. That kind of detail is important! You need to make it clear in your question as to why you could not use the information provided in the error message to figure out what might be the problem. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:23
  • See, you first asked whether I followed the link or not, I said no. Then you simply said sarcastically that I could find time to post the question but not follow the link. Now, that's not offensive. I then tried and then I couldn't access the link. And I replied the same. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:30
  • @LalitKumarB: You said you didn't have the time: Couldn't find the time at that moment to do so, not that you could not follow the link. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:34
  • @LalitKumarB: Note that I did not vote on your question. I did react with some incredulity as to that remark that you didn't have time. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:35
  • I understand. Thanks. I am more aware of stackoverflow for answering the relevant questions. Thanks again. I would still upvote your answer, since you are correct. It was a problem on my side that I couldn't follow the link. Will keep that in mind. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:40
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There was an unexpected outage, caused by some internal network issues (the root cause is still being investigated).

This was the initial bout of the sites going read-only. This changed a few times as we investigated issues.

Corrective measures were deployed (no unicorns were hurt in the process), however, some of the web servers were still in a state inconsistent with others - so some users would have seen the read-only message while others did not.

These issues also effected the mobile apps and the Stack Exchange OpenId provider.

As part of correcting the issues, a short planned maintenance window went into progress. This was only for a few minutes.

At this point, the websites are up and running, but some services are still spotty (in particular the OpenId provider).

The SRE team is still at work fixing the remaining issues and finding out the root cause.

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  • Thanks, I see now it is up. I posted the question because I couldn't follow the tweets, and couldn't find any clue that why it happened. I took sometime to come here at meta and post my question, but I see unnecessary downvote on my question. As if I asked something completely irrelevant. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:18
  • Thanks again for the details. +1 Feb 17, 2015 at 14:32
  • @bluet - could very well be related. Not all issues have been resolved yet.
    – Oded
    Feb 17, 2015 at 14:41
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I think that adding (you can view the tweets even without a twitter account) to the text on stackstatus.net wouldn't hurt, for people who are not familiar with privacy settings on twitter. That should (1) emphasize that you really wanna click that and (2) show that you can view the messages :) As well, it's not a big change and lots of coding, just one text modified.

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    This doesn't help for people whose workplace simply block all access to Twitter.com. Feb 17, 2015 at 20:58

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